An aircraft with 189 people on board is believed to have sunk after crashing into the sea off Indonesia’s island of Java on Monday, shortly after takeoff from the capital on its way to the country’s tin-mining hub, officials said.
A spokesman for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said the Lion Air flight, JT610, lost contact 13 minutes after takeoff, adding that a tug boat leaving the capital’s port had seen the craft falling.
“It has been confirmed that it has crashed,” the spokesman, Yusuf Latif, said by text message, when asked about the fate of the plane, which air tracking service Flightradar 24 identified as a Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Debris thought to be from the plane, including aircraft seats, was found near an offshore refining facility in the Java Sea, an official of state energy firm Pertamina said.
Wreckage had been found near where the plane lost contact with air traffic officials on the ground, said Muhmmad Syaugi, the head of the search and rescue agency.
“We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors,” Syaugi told a news conference, adding that no distress signal had been received from the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter.
“We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.”
An official of Indonesia’s safety transport committee said he could not confirm the cause of the crash, which would have to wait until the recovery of the plane’s black boxes, as the cockpit voice recorder and data flight recorder are known, reports Reuters.
“We will collect all data from the control tower,” said Soerjanto Tjahjono. “The plane is so modern, it transmits data from the plane and that we will review too. But the most important is the blackbox.”